Sunday, July 18, 2010


I saw Inception today. I have little I wish to say here about the movie itself, other than that it's the first movie in a long time about which I understood critics' exhortations that to truly see it, one must see it in a theater. Critics say that about every movie, after all, and it's frequently untrue, but in this case I really do feel like big chunks of it will not be nearly as awesome on a TV screen, let alone a phone. (I don't know anyone who watches movies on a phone, or at least I don't think I do; if I ever found out someone I know watches movies on a phone, I might have to cut ties with him or her.)

Anyway, what it made me wonder about was this: the movie was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who frequently works with his brother Jonathan (they worked together on Memento, The Prestige and both of Nolan's Batman movies). Though there's no on-screen acknowledgement of it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jonathan Nolan had some input into Inception.

So why are teams of brothers attracted to dream imagery? The Coens used it in Raising Arizona, though it wasn't crucial to the movie; the Wachowski brothers, of course, made the Matrix trilogy; and now at least one Nolan has made this movie, which goes deeper than anyone has before into dream-within-dream layering (and does so with remarkable narrative skill, maintaining the tension of a caper movie throughout and never surrendering to fuzzy-mindedness). My brother and I aren't that close, and have never collaborated on a creative endeavor, so this is something I can't speculate about from within.

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